The Written: #bookreview

The Written by Ben Galley is about mages and dragons, mystery and secrets, friendship and betrayal.

The main character, Farden, is a specific type of mage called The Written. The Written have magical tattoos placed on their body that tell a story. If someone reads their tattoo, it could possibly be detrimental to their health. They have to follow certain rules – no romantic relationships, no children. Apparently, they are magical priests.

The Write Reads group asked people if anyone wanted to participate in a Ben Galley blog tour. So I joined this blog tour and chose the book based on the description.

I really enjoyed the quest that Farden went on to discover the truth about a stolen book and the murders of mages.

There are also characters that add something special to the story. One of his closest friends, Durnus, is a vampire. Farden is tasked with making peace with the dragons. There’s also a hydra in the mix. No unicorns or centaurs in this story.

The only thing that I did not like was Farden’s name. Farden doesn’t sound like it matches the character. The named used to refer to a travelling warrior or mercenary, which is fitting.

Anyone who likes magical adventures and dragons will love this book.

Ben Galley website

Ben Galley on Facebook

Sleep Deprived Music Review: Outer Spaces

Outer Spaces

Indie pop band Outer Spaces has a new album, Gazing Globe, out this week.

The album feels fairly relaxed – not so relaxed that anyone will fall asleep. The kind of relaxed that I feel in the garden, where there is so much possibility. The songwriter, Cara Beth Satalino gives the impression that there is possibility, like the world is your garden.

Gazing Globe reminds me of early REM. So Outer Spaces could achieve legendary status someday. My favorite song on this album is “I Slowly Close My Eyes.”

This would be a good album for gardening. I think I will listen to it while trying to deal with my overabundance of tomato plants. It might help me to relax.

Outer Spaces on bandcamp

Interview with . . . Ben Galley

In hindsight, I should have had my youngest kid ask the questions for an interview with Ben Galley. They are both interested in dragons and fantasy novels to a greater extent than most people. I didn’t ask one question about dragons. Shameful.

However, you will discover some interesting things about Ben Galley in the following interview.

What was the first thing that you wrote?

The first thing I ever wrote was a terrible, hand-drawn comic I wrote when I was about six or seven. After that, I decided to try a novel, and finished that before I hit my teens. It was called The Kanandapur Gang – a story featuring anthropomorphised monkeys in a medieval, magical society in southern India. It, nor its sequel, will never see the light of day, but those books gave me a solid foundation for future projects.

Are you a boxing fan?

I don’t follow the sport, but do enjoy it when I catch it. I admire the dedication it takes, as well as the strength, mental aptitude and tenacity. I occasionally box whenever I get the chance, more for fitness than anything else.

Do you have a favorite superhero? Favorite villain?

I have both! If I were to pick my favourite superhero, it would be a tough choice between Iron Man or Doctor Manhattan. As for villain, the Joker for complexity of character, or Carnage, for absolute… well, carnage.

Do audiobooks count as reading?

I’d say so. As audiobooks are derived from the written word, you’re still absorbing the same prose, just in a different medium. Audiobooks are also great for readers who have trouble with text, so I’m a big fan of the rise of the audiobook.

Has it been a smooth transition from living in England to living in Canada?

It’s been a lot smoother than I was expecting. It’s not a huge culture shock, especially seeing as I’m living in British Columbia. I still see the UK flag half a dozen times a day! The immigration side of things has been a huge amount of work, but worth it to remain in this beautiful, forward-thinking country. I’ve found that my wordcount and work ethic has also improved since moving here, and what I’ve experienced since being in Canada has given me bundles of inspiration. I’ve already got a BC-inspired series waiting to be written.

What are your feelings about hockey?

I got stuck into hockey as soon as I got here. It’s brutal, fast and exciting, and I’ve enjoyed learning the rules and teams. I wouldn’t say I’m an aficionado by any means, but I’m becoming more and more of a fan with every season.

Will the anthropomorphic monkeys ever make an appearance in your novels?

Perhaps one day, there might be a little nod to Kanandapur in my books. Perhaps a race of primate-human hybrids smuggled in somewhere. For now, they’re staying firmly on my hard-drive.

What music are you listening to right now?

Right now, I’m channeling some Picturesque, a band I’ve recently got into.

What do you want people to know about Ben Galley?

Aside from the fact you can get the first book in each of my series for 99c at the moment, I can be found in all the usual places! I’ve got vlogs and info over at my site www.bengalley.com, or I’m usually getting up to mischief on Twitter @BenGalley or Facebook @BenGalleyAuthor.

116 Days of Summer Guests: Ashley Delima

Like” Me or Not, I’m Still Here 

Growing up in a very digital age has been full of challenges for my generation and me. In a word where the perception of perfection is life’s goal, where could I fit in? I myself have fallen into the trap of Instagram and keeping up appearances or even obsessively caring what others will think or say about me based on what I post online or how I look. It took me a while (years) to actually realize that the problem wasn’t mine alone. It was what society has implanted in all of us. Of course we allow ourselves to be sucked into this digital world, what feels like an okay place where we can leave and not be affected by it so easily, but in reality it can truly become a never ending cycle of self torture and peer pressure. We don’t notice how much in depth we are gradually falling into this addiction of social approval and even worse – the unlimited chase for perfection. This constant chase has seeped into the music industry. I’ve been noticing how people have lowered their standards towards music and art but since it “sells” it’s acceptable. I feel deeply bothered by this and take it very personally since I feel like a lot of people in my generation haven’t been exposed to so much that’s out there. It is heart breaking to think that so many people will never know what poetic lyrics are, since they are being fed with literalism almost constantly. The magic of decorating words, letters and silence is being left behind and replaced by overly simplified sentences with no space for interpretation and imagination. It is disappointing to even say out loud that passion has turned into greed and our sense of self is now defined and distorted by numbers and status in a world that does not exist. The next generation is boarding in a universe that lets popularity, likes, comments and followers define who they are, which is far from the truth. What are they really gaining from all of this? I have never really known a world without “likes”. A world where people don’t feel pressured to look perfect and don’t feel bad if a post doesn’t have as much engagement as hoped for. I was only 12 years old when Instagram launched. I have only noticed now that everything I thought mattered, really doesn’t. Everything i used to worry about is pure bullshit. The peer pressure of worrying what people will think when creating music, art and content shouldn’t exist because whatever I’m doing is my own vision and if someone doesn’t go along with or doesn’t like it, that’s out of my control. What I have to do, just like everyone else, is focus on my path without all the external noise. What we have to do as individuals who seek to find ourselves and pave our own path, is keep our eye on the prize and believe that our power is that there is no one like us out there. I have to keep believing that I am good enough and that I still exist, whether you like me or not. 

-Ashley Delima

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Sleep Deprived Music Review: Divino Nino

Divino Nino
Photo Credit: Rachel Cabitt

Divino Nino will be releasing their album, Foam, on June 21. NPR is excited about this album so we probably should be too.

Honestly, the album is a little campy and dreamy but no one is complaining. When I listen to it, I envision myself going on a vacation with lots of beaches and surfboards. I don’t even own a surfboard but this album makes me believe in that vacation so much. The song that I like the best is “Melty Caramello.” It’s very dreamy and romantic -unlike an actual melty caramello.

Divino Nino is from Chicago so maybe they are dreaming about a beach vacation too. They are on tour right now so it would be possible to catch up with them and find out what their motivation was when making this album.

Anyway, check out their music tomorrow. I suggest spending the afternoon to listen to it while on your own road trip – even if it’s just an hour. It will be time well spent.